HAS RIVERFRONT PARK BEEN SAVED FOR PUBLIC USE? NOT YET, BUT PERHAPS

  • FRIENDS OF RIVERFRONT PARK
    On July 2, the city of Peoria terminated the development agreement to build apartments in Riverfront Park.
    Friends of Riverfront Park (FORP) thanks all who helped get to this point to save the park for public green space. The city of Peoria has posted the notice of termination on its website at
    http://www.peoriagov.org/content/uploads/2015/11/Rivertrailtermination_1531158130_add.pdf
    But concerns remain:
    1. The City’s application to the National Park Service (NPS) to sell the parkland for apartments must be withdrawn. We ask supporters to contact their council representatives and city manager asking them to immediately withdraw the application. Withdrawal places the parkland under the protection of federal regulations and continues its use as a public park.
    2. FORP’s research found deficiencies in a prior land conversion of Southtown to Rocky Glen, completed in 2012. The National Park Service (NPS) agreed, and determined that the city has a likely shortfall in fair market value of the converted land. The city has stated that it will “work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service to resolve the issues related to the Rocky Glen conversion, in order to close out any outstanding issues with the Land and Water Grant,”
    http://www.peoriagov.org/content/uploads/2015/11/River-TrailUpdate6.29-July-6_1531158088_add.pdf
    The city therefore needs new appraisals for these properties to determine their fair market value.
    The city SHOULD NOT PURCHASE additional land to correct an anticipated fair market value deficit until the appraisals are completed and accepted by NPS showing a deficit.
    Despite its extreme fiscal crisis, the city is proposing purchase of park replacement land that may cost more than its appraised value, creating excess fair market value. FORP does not want a set up for a future Riverfront Park conversion for development. The land purchase is likely to be on the council agenda for July 24.
    Ask council members to reject the proposed purchase and look for other solutions, such as properties the city already owns in Southtown, which could be made into pocket parks. A public decision process also should be in place before replacement land is purchased. – 30 –
    More information: email peoriaforp@yahoo.com
    Karrie Alms, 309-258-7762
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